I commented on our radio broadcast today that how we treat our allies (like Israel) and our enemies (like Iran) seems to be juxtaposed. We grovel at the people who treat us the worst and insult our “friends.”
This is not new. When one – unnamed – State Department gopher was asked years ago why we didn’t slam the USSR for their behavior backing “revolutionary armies” in Africa, but did slam Israel and other nations for fighting terrorists he remarked, “Because the USSR doesn’t listen to us!”
Well, there’s a load of common sense!
3/18/2010 - Beautiful Hurva; The American Palestinian Militia; Catholics and Demons
Anyway, this past week was full of the same kind of reasoning. At the end of the broadcast I mentioned that so many Israelis are convinced that President Obama is a Muslim, and/or at least anti-Semitic. The latter might seem like a reach because his Chief of Staff, Rahm Emmanuel is Jewish. Lots of Israelis question Rahm’s loyalty to Israel too.
Yesha, the Council of Jewish Communities in Judea, Samaria and the Gaza Strip sent a letter to Sec. of State Clinton after her pummeling of Bibi about building in Jerusalem.
(Yes, we all know there are no Jewish communities in Gaza any more, but they haven’t changed their name.)
Seems they wanted the administration to know that there have been Jews in Israel INCLUDING JERUSALEM over the past 3000 years.“The Greeks, the Romans, the Crusaders, the Arabs, the Ottomans and the British – none of them could undermine the connection between the Jewish people and Jerusalem, therefore, the demand not to build in Jerusalem or to hand parts of the city to others is totally unacceptable for the Jewish people. We will not negotiate over Jerusalem, we will never divide it.”For her part, Clinton seemed to back the pressure off a bit when she said in a press conference, “I don’t buy that [that relations with Israel were the worst in the past thirty-five years]. We have an absolute commitment to Israel’s security. We have a close, unshakable bond between the United States and Israel and between the American and Israeli people, who share common values and a commitment to a democratic future for the world.”
THE USUAL SUSPECTS
Knee-jerk reactions are common in politics. For instance, Bibi seemed to distance himself from Eli Yishai’s announcement about the construction of 1600 new homes in Jerusalem at first blush.
AND IT WAS STUPID TIMING on Yishai’s part. One has to wonder if he isn’t trying to purposely embarrass Bibi with that. After all Eli is livid about the whole construction denial. Would he do that to a fellow conservative? Oh, YES! Politics in Israel is bloody, don’t forget. And Eli still smarts about Sharon’s ill-advised (by Olmert) removal of all Jews from Gaza.
But, after the embarrassment of the moment passed, Bibi came back firmly that Israel is a sovereign nation and that Jerusalem is its capitol. Building in the city was never part of the agreement to curb construction in the West Bank, regardless of the fact that the Arabs keep spouting off the big lie that Jerusalem is part of their West Bank.
I REMIND YOU that there is already a Palestinian State. Its name is Jordan. Their legislature includes men from the West Bank. The nation’s population is a majority of Palestinians, and in fact their queen is a Palestinian. Why should Israel give the Arabs TWO PALESTINIAN STATES?
King Abdullah II of Jordan doesn’t like this kind of statement, but, well, we really don’t care what he likes and doesn’t like. He hasn’t made us very happy lately, either.
MORE OF THE USUAL SUSPECTS:
Hamas issued a statement on Tuesday that the Palestinians should launch a third intifada to prevent the “Zionist plot” to take over Jerusalem.
These guys must be living in a cave beside Osama! Israel took Jerusalem BACK FROM JORDAN in June of 1967!
So what is Hamas up to? They want to stir up the West Bank Arabs against Mahmoud Abbas. That is not difficult to do. The idea that he is cooperating with Israel by returning to the negotiating table helps. I remind you that “collaborators” with Israel are killed in Gaza and the West Bank!
You have probably heard about more “riots” on and about the Temple Mount also this week. It is the same old stuff. Arab radical leaders get the teenagers and young punks to go up there and throw rocks, act brave until the police call up the IDF crowd control forces. Then the TV cameras roll, film goes out on the satellite and the Arab world sees the Israelis “taking the Temple Mount away from the Arabs” again.
As I’ve said earlier, that was in 1967, then, when the gun powder drifted away, Israel returned it to Jordan. Jordan is currently the ruling power over the Temple Mount Waqf (authority), which handles the day to day activity there.
In fact, one of our friends is the son-in-law of the late Mufti of Jerusalem. The head of the Waqf passed, and another has taken his place, but the friendship remains with Shaban.
So Hamas makes noises, the kids get to prove they are tough enough to confront the IDF and police (the girls are impressed, if no one else is), and we all go through the motions.
WILL THERE BE ANOTHER INTIFADA?
Not likely. At least not right away. Too many people are getting their pockets lined in the West Bank to make that mistake. And their followers don’t want it. They are finally recovering from the last one that really ended in 2003.
THE HURVA SYNAGOGUE IN THE JEWISH QUARTER OF THE OLD CITY IS DEDICATED AND OPEN AGAIN.
From Arnona in the south of Jerusalem, one could watch the dome taking shape and color. What must really rile the Muslims is that this dome sits higher on Mt. Zion than the Dome of the Rock.
The article here is really important to the Jews of Israel.
In 2001 I visited Israel for a week to do photos in cooperation with a travel company and the Ministry of Tourism. At that time there was nothing happening at the Hurva Synagogue, but I went down into the heart of the building and got a great photo of the “bema” or high place.
That is reminiscent of the place we Christians relate to where the Lord will reward obedience at the Marriage Supper of the Lamb.
Hurva is again a house of prayer
By ABE SELIG AND HILARY LEILA KRIEGER
Hundreds gather for rededication of J'lem synagogue after nearly 62-year hiatus.
After a nearly 62-year hiatus, the renowned Hurva synagogue inside the Jewish Quarter of Jerusalem’s Old City has been rebuilt and is again an operational house of prayer.
Hundreds of people, braving the wind and an unexpected Jerusalem chill, crowded into a courtyard opposite the outer walls of the synagogue on Monday night to take part in an official rededication ceremony for the newly-rebuilt shul – which stands in the exact spot it did before its destruction at the hands of the Jordanian Arab Legion during the War of Independence in 1948.
Meanwhile on Monday, the US State Department criticized Palestinians for stoking tensions at the rededication of the historic synagogue.
"We are deeply disturbed by statements made by several Palestinian officials mischaracterizing the event in question, which can only serve to heighten the tensions we see. And we call upon Palestinian officials to put an end to such incitement," said US State Department spokesman PJ Crowley. "We are urging all parties to act responsibly and do whatever is necessary to remain calm."
He added that the US was "not at all" objecting to the rededication itself.
While the ceremony was a great source of joy – both for those inside the ceremony area and for the scores of onlookers who crowded around the cordoned-off area to try and get a glimpse of the goings-on – the Hurva’s rededication has also seen a rise in tensions among Palestinians in the Old City and in east Jerusalem.
Rumors about the synagogue, along with the perceived implications its reconstruction holds for the Temple Mount, have spurred numerous calls from Palestinian leaders to defend Al-Aksa mosque from “Israeli attempts” to destroy it and begin building the Third Temple.
Based on those calls and additional intelligence information obtained by Jerusalem Police, more than 3,000 security forces have been deployed throughout the area since Friday. Additionally, Muslim men under the age of 50 have been prevented from entering the Temple Mount for prayers.
However, speaking inside the Hurva before the ceremony, Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi Yona Metzger attempted to calm these tensions with a message of peace to the Muslim world.
“Pay no attention to malicious slander,” Metzger said. “All we are doing is resurrecting the Hurva, which was destroyed more than 60 years ago. We have no intention of rebuilding the temple, not this week – unless Almighty God sends it to us from the heavens.”
Metzger added, “All the rumors that suggest we will later march on the Temple Mount are just that – rumors; a media spin by anti-Semites who wish us harm.”
Still, the overall tone of the speakers during the ceremony was one of accomplishment and pride at the synagogue’s rebirth.
After a musical rendition of the “shehiyanu” blessing – recited in instances of renewal – by members of the IDF choir, Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat addressed the crowd, saying that the destruction of a Jewish holy site by foreign powers in the heart of the Jewish Quarter was something “we will never again allow to happen.”
While Barkat also sounded a conciliatory tone toward the city’s Muslim residents, he added that “only we, the sovereign power in Jerusalem, know how to guard the city’s holy sites for all three major religions.”
Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin, who spoke after Barkat, echoed many of the mayor’s comments, though not before reading words composed by his mother’s grandfather describing the Hurva before its destruction in 1948.
“From the hills surrounding Jerusalem, [the Hurva] rises up,” Rivlin said, visibly moved by the occasion. “And as it rises, it is reminiscent of a moon among the stars in the sky.”
Rivlin went on to speak of the Hurva’s history, beginning with its first incarnation in 1701, when it was constructed by disciples of Judah Hahasid. Its first destruction came some 20 years later, when those same disciples lacked the funds to repay local creditors, who in return burned the Hurva to the ground.
It was nearly 150 years before the Hurva stood again, but in 1864, after a massive construction project was approved by the Ottoman Turks and funds were procured from Jewish communities the world over, a neo-Byzantine Hurva was soon towering over the rest of the Jewish Quarter.
However, that Hurva, which hosted the likes of Theodor Herzl and Ze’ev Jabotinsky before the creation of the state, also met with ruin. The Jordanian army took Jerusalem’s Old City in May of 1948, loaded the building with explosives and set off a blast whose smoke cloud could be seen miles away.
However, as Rivlin spoke to the crowd on Monday night, he vowed that such acts would never again be seen – not in Jerusalem, nor in any other part of the Jewish state.
“Here, we will continue to live, and we will continue to build,” Rivlin said, his voice trembling with emotion. “Because no power in the world can distance us from our land.”
FOLLOW UP REGARDING MESSIANIC JEWISH BAKER
For those of you who are new to us, let me explain a couple of items.
First, the phrase “Messianic Jew” in Israel has nothing to do with attending a congregation of any sort. It simply means that the person is of Jewish descent and has accepted Jesus Christ as their Messiah and Saviour.
Secondly, the worst insult in Israel is toward anyone who disagrees with Orthodox Jewish beliefs: “They aren’t even Jewish. They are Christians!”
Now the report about Pnina Conforty, the Messianic Jew who owns a bakery in Ashdod:
Messianic baker Pnina Conforty still 'not kosher'
Messianic Jewish baker Pnina Conforty, owner and operator of the popular Pnina Pie bakery in Ashdod, is still being denied a kosher certificate due to her faith. That despite the fact that Israel's Supreme Court ordered the Ashdod Chief Rabbinate to issue her said certificate nine months ago.
Conforty originally had a kosher certificate, but it was revoked in 2006 when the Orthodox Rabbinical establishment discovered she was a believer in Yeshua (Jesus).
Following a lengthy legal battle, the Supreme Court ruled last year that the rabbinate could not deny Conforty a kosher certificate based on her personal faith, so long as she met the same technical requirements as every other bakery.
At Tuesday's contempt-of-court hearing, the rabbinate's lawyers claimed that Conforty had not met those requirements because she refuses to employ an Orthodox kosher supervisor to be present at her bakery at all times. However, the rabbinate only recently made that an official requirement, and only after the court originally ruled that demanding that of Conforty was unacceptable since other bakeries did not have to have a supervisor present.
The court ordered the rabbinate to produce official documents of what is required for every bakery to receive kosher certification, and official documentation of any changes that have been made over the past year. Conforty and her lawyers protested, as the decision basically ignored the original ruling. They also noted that the rabbinate was clearly lying and would continue to do so in order to deny her certification.
But the judges said the Supreme Court is unable to subpoena witnesses, and would therefore trust that the Ashdod Chief Rabbinate, as a public institution, would not deliberately deceive the court.
The Ashdod Rabbinate has said in the past that it will drag this process out as long as necessary, because neither it nor any other religious institution in Israel will ever give a Jewish believer in Jesus a kosher certification.
MORE ON THE STUPIDITY OF THE PALESTINIAN MILITIA
For years I have “ranted” about Gen. Keith Dayton and his Arab Army of the West Bank. No, they aren’t called that by anyone but me, but that is the reality. History has shown that these “former terrorists” are not our friends, or friends of Israel.
Now Daniel Pipes has made his voice heard on the same subject. I present it so you can get some more information, and – rare possibility, I admit – if you ever doubt me, you can see that I am not just a voice crying in the wilderness.
America’s shiny new Palestinian militia
By DANIEL PIPES
Palestinian forces are more ideologically driven, weakening ability to damage Israel.
The stupidest program the US government has ever undertaken”; that’s how I last year called American efforts to improve the Palestinian Authority military force. Slightly hyperbolic, yes, but the description fits because those efforts enhance the fighting power of enemies of the US and its Israeli ally.
First, a primer about the program, drawing on a recent Center of Near East Policy Research study by David Bedein and Arlene Kushner: Shortly after Yasser Arafat died in late 2004, the US government established the Office of the US Security Coordinator to reform, recruit, train
and equip the PA militia (called the National Security Forces or Quwwat al-Amn al-Watani) and make them politically accountable.
For nearly all of its existence, the office has been headed by Lt.-Gen. Keith Dayton. Since 2007, American taxpayers have funded it to the tune of $100 million a year. Many agencies of the US government have been involved in the program, including the State Department’s Bureau of Diplomatic Security, the Secret Service and branches of the military.
The PA militia has in total about 30,000 troops, of which four battalions comprising 2,100 troops have passed scrutiny for lack of criminal or terrorist ties and undergone 1,400 hours of training at an American facility in Jordan. There they study subjects ranging from small-unit tactics and crime-scene investigations to first aid and human rights law.
With Israeli permission, these troops have deployed in areas of Hebron, Jenin and Nablus. So far, this experiment has gone well, prompting widespread praise. Sen. John Kerry calls the program “extremely encouraging,” and Thomas Friedman of The New York Times discerns in the US-trained troops a possible “Palestinian peace partner for Israel” taking shape.
LOOKING AHEAD, however, I predict that those troops will more likely be a war partner than a peace partner for Israel. Consider their likely role in several scenarios:
• No Palestinian state: Dayton proudly calls the US-trained forces “founders of a Palestinian state,” a polity he expects to come into existence by 2011. What if – as has happened often before – the Palestinian state does not emerge on schedule? Dayton himself warns of “big risks,” presumably meaning that his freshly-minted troops would start directing their firepower against Israel.
• Palestinian state: The PA has never wavered in its goal of eliminating Israel, as the briefest glance at documentation collected by Palestinian Media Watch makes evident. Should the PA achieve statehood, it will certainly pursue its historic goal – only now equipped with a shiny new American-trained soldiery and arsenal.
• The PA defeats Hamas: For the same reason, in the unlikely event that the PA prevails over Hamas, its Gaza-based Islamist rival, it will by incorporating Hamas troops into its own militia and then order the combined troops to attack Israel. The rival organizations may differ in outlook, methods and personnel, but they share the overarching goal of eliminating Israel.
• Hamas defeats the PA: Should the PA succumb to Hamas, it will absorb at least some of “Dayton’s men” into its own militia and deploy them in the effort to eliminate the Jewish state.
• Hamas and PA cooperate: Even as Dayton imagines he is preparing a militia to fight Hamas, the PA leadership participates in Egyptian-sponsored talks with Hamas about power sharing – raising the specter that the US trained forces and Hamas will coordinate attacks
THE LAW of unintended consequences provides one temporary consolation: As Washington sponsors the PA forces and Teheran sponsors those of Hamas, Palestinian forces are more ideologically driven, perhaps weakening their overall ability to damage Israel.
Admittedly, Dayton’s men are behaving themselves at present. But whatever the future brings – state, no state, Hamas defeats the PA, the PA defeats Hamas or the two cooperate – these militiamen will eventually turn their guns against Israel. When that happens, Dayton and the geniuses idealistically building the forces of Israel’s enemy will likely shrug and say, “No one could have foreseen this outcome.”
Not so. Some of us foresee it and are warning against it. More deeply, some of us understand that the 1993 Oslo process did not end the Palestinian leadership’s drive to eliminate Israel.
The Dayton mission needs to be stopped before it does more harm. Congress should immediately cut all funding for the Office of the US Security Coordinator.
The writer is director of the Middle East Forum and Taube distinguished visiting fellow at the Hoover Institution of Stanford University. www.DanielPipes.org
CATHOLICS AND REAL CHRISTIANS
Oh, my goodness! Did I really write that? Yes, I guess I did.
On March 10, the following headline decorated that issue of the TimesOnline:
“Chief exorcist Father Gabriele Amorth says Devil is in the Vatican”
Author Dave Hunt has been saying that for decades. His riveting book, A Woman Rides The Beast, has some shocking facts about the history of the Catholic church, its Popes and doctrines.
UNDERSTAND, we are not saying all who attend the Catholic church are demonic! But we have some real problems with Catholic doctrine and practices.
We will let you read the introduction to the article and the link if you want more, then we will continue in our own commentary.
March 10, 2010
Chief exorcist Father Gabriele Amorth says Devil is in the Vatican
Richard Owen in Rome
Don Gabriele Amorth is the chief exorcist at the Vatican
Sex abuse scandals in the Roman Catholic Church are proof that that "the Devil is at work inside the Vatican", according to the Holy See's chief exorcist.
Father Gabriele Amorth, 85, who has been the Vatican's chief exorcist for 25 years and says he has dealt with 70,000 cases of demonic possession, said that the consequences of satanic infiltration included power struggles at the Vatican as well as "cardinals who do not believe in Jesus, and bishops who are linked to the Demon".
He added: "When one speaks of 'the smoke of Satan' [a phrase coined by Pope Paul VI in 1972] in the holy rooms, it is all true – including these latest stories of violence and paedophilia."
He claimed that another example of satanic behaviour was the Vatican "cover-up" over the deaths in 1998 of Alois Estermann, the then commander of the Swiss Guard, his wife and Corporal Cedric Tornay, a Swiss Guard, who were all found shot dead. "They covered up everything immediately," he said. "Here one sees the rot".
A remarkably swift Vatican investigation concluded that Corporal Tornay had shot the commander and his wife and then turned his gun on himself after being passed over for a medal. However Tornay's relatives have challenged this. There have been unconfirmed reports of a homosexual background to the tragedy and the involvement of a fourth person who was never identfied. …
You will have to determine for yourself the veracity of the previous paragraphs, but we see demonic activity in the Catholic church. And prophecy demonstrates that it will not likely end before the Second Coming of Christ. (More on that at a later date)
CATHOLICS AND ISRAEL
During a radio interview right after Pope Benedict came to the post, I was asked, “How do the Israelis like the new Pope?”
My answer stunned the host into total silence. “Most likely they won’t like him any better than the last Pope. But they might think they can maneuver him better because he is German.”
I continued, “The Catholic Church believes that they are the new Israel. In fact some writings on the Vatican website refer to Israel as “the formerly chosen people of God,” and infers that the Catholic Church has now taken that role.
When the host questioned the accuracy of my statements, I sent him about 35 pages of documents by email the next day. (And no, I didn’t keep them, so do your own research.)
ARABS AND CHRISTIANS
Israel is loaded with Catholic churches, many founded by Constantine’s mother, Helena, including the Church of the Holy Sepulcher. Among Arabs, there are quite a few Catholics, Greek Orthodox and Coptic Christians, though I don’t have the numbers at hand.
ISRAELIS too often equate the word “Christian” to mean “Catholic.” In fact when the subject came up in the Jerusalem Post a few years ago and I did a comment on these pages about the error, a friend who writes for them send me an email which said in part, “We should set down so you can help me to understand the differences between the various kinds of Christians.” I gladly offered, but alas, he got too busy and we never got the opportunity to do more than hit the subject superficially.
Evangelistas, Evangelicals, Baptists, and the like are all known by many in the Israel travel industry because of their dealings with them, and the fact that we want to make the differences known to those who work with our people. And there is a great deal of difference.
For instance, one becomes a Catholic usually by being baptized – actually sprinkled – at birth. Born again Christians come to faith in Jesus Christ by accepting the following truths:
1. The virgin birth of Jesus. Deniers point to the word “virgin” and say it also means young girl, which is true. But note the following:
Isaiah 7:14 Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.
So, I must ask, given that they say what they do about a virgin not meaning literal virgin, then why does the Lord say it will be a “sign?” Hmmmm.
Then too, Catholics believe in the bogus idea of transubstantiation. In other words the wafer and wine (they use alcoholic wine) become the physical body of Jesus.
That is nonsense to me. And to lots of others as well. Consider that wine is the result of the corruption of juice. So how could a corrupt item become literally the pure blood of Christ? Just asking?
There are other differences as well. We do not believe in a Pope. Our faith was established at the time of Christ, not 300 plus years later.
We understand that those who share our faith underwent tremendous persecution and murder during the years of the Inquisition. Jesus never once indicated such behavior was correct according to the Scriptures. In fact there is no Pope in the Bible.
There is a lot more, but I think you get the idea. We are not Catholics.
And Baptists are not Protestants either. We were never part of the Catholic church, so there was nothing to protest, except for the persecution we received at their hands.
And how do the Israelis handle this talk? Some, of course, say that we are “stealing the souls of Jews.” They even say that about their Jewish brethren who believe that Jesus (Yeshua) is the Messiah.
It is ridiculous to believe that anyone can “make” someone believe something. A man convinced against his will is of the same opinion still.
Other Israelis feel free to discuss our differences without animosity or feeling oppressed. They are confident of their position and grant us the same freedom.
And the idea that a person who is born with Jewish genes somehow loses that genetic code because of a faith-decision is totally preposterous! But it is a defense mechanism that sounds nice when you need an insult to stop a discussion.
Praise the Lord for the 15,000 to 30,000 Israelis who have come to trust the Lord as their Messiah, recognizing the truth of Daniel 9:24-27 24 Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy.
25 Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks: the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times.
26 And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself: and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined.
27 And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate.
Not long ago I read a blog in the J-Post about a South African Jew who was sort of twisting in the wind regarding his move to Israel. It pointed out so many truths that come to me as well that I thought I would take a bit of ink and discuss the following topics:
My heart and Israel:
In 1986 I first visited Israel. My wife and I loved the Old Testament long before, but when we made that first “aliyah” we did not feel like we were in a foreign land. Quite the opposite, we felt at home, as strange as that may seem.
In the following years I made more and more trips; lived in Israel for the summer of 2002, and eventually sold our home and moved here in 2006. We did not take up permanent residency. I considered trying to do that, but did not follow it up because there is no synagogue proof of my Jewishness.
Since that time, I have come to believe the liabilities of Israeli citizenship outweigh the benefits. Nevertheless, we love the land, live here as much as possible, and feel a part of Israel.
Moving to Israel, renting an apartment, learning where to shop, traveling the land, and getting to know the customs, language, and people was a rich experience.
But, do not doubt this… Israel is a tremendously difficult place to live. We have friends from around the world who have become Israeli citizens. Some consider going home, but the safety and cultural richness keep them in the land.
The punitive taxation, high cost of living, danger from imminent attack, and corruption in politics all make them wonder about the wisdom of their decision.
We too, found it tough, but worth the challenges.
“Who are you?”
That is one of the first questions asked by virtually everyone who meets you in Israel. That doesn’t mean it as it sounds. They want to know about who you “really are.” Do you love Israel? Are you here to besmirch the land or aid it.
Over the years so many Israelis had said to us, “Israel needs you. People who love the people, the land and its history.” Those folks are proud of being Israelis and want people who will be a benefit to come live in Israel. They obviously felt we were such people.
Are you Jewish?
That question is one of the first ones, too. What are your roots? Who but a Jew would really come to this crazy land on a long term basis?
When I answer in the affirmative, then the next bevy of questions come. Can you prove it? On your mother’s side? (Except for Russians, this is the “qualifier.”) Are you making aliyah? (Becoming a citizen?) and on and on.
Why are you living here?
When they learn that we are not becoming citizens, most then wonder why anyone in their right mind would choose to move to Israel.
One Hassidic man we met, though, admitted that many of his friends refuse to put up with the hassles from the Shas-run Ministry of Interior (they are Ashkenazi), so they keep their original citizenship and just come on tourist visas, as we must.
When they learn that I am in the media, they want to know if I’m pro or anti Israel. There are tons of reporters who hate Israel but live here. We’ve witnessed it at press conferences and other places. It gets me a bit exercised. I am admittedly pro-Israel, but at the same time, work very hard to be balanced in my reporting and writing. To me fair is fair, and I just “don’t take prisoners” as last week’s article on the unfairness of Israel’s treatment of Arab communities attests.
And the state of my own heart:
I love the history of the land. I mean it. As a Bible student, I love traveling the land. With tours and just a couple of friends, I love to teach the Scriptures from the areas where the events occurred.
It’s heritage is rich, and perhaps that’s why I love Jerusalem so much. Living beside the walls of the Old City has been a salve to my soul. I don’t worship the land like those who fall victim to the Jerusalem syndrome, but I love the city.
As a country boy, raised on farms and in small towns, the idea of living in a city has never been a positive. But Jerusalem is different. Even the racket, rush and press of people doesn’t bother me. It’s all part of the charm of this crazy place called Jerusalem.
I love the weather of the land. Really. I’m laughing as I type this. Summers that are so dry and hot they bake your brain and winters with their cold, wet winds that chill you the instant you step outside don’t seem that bad to me. And the Fall and Spring are my great delight. And, of course in Jerusalem “the air is better.” That is the statement Jerusalemites all say. Simply, the 2800 feet altitude of the city means it is less humid than the Med coastline and cooler than either Tiberias or the Dead Sea Valley.
I love the people (most of them) of the land.
Israelis have the same reputation as New York waiters, but it is a front. They are cautious, secretive and selective of whom they admit into their hearts, but once in, you are family, with all the benefits (and liabilities) that Jewish families enjoy.
One friend repeated states, “You are more Israeli than most Israelis!” and means it. I do love the people of the land, and they come in all kinds. As the saying goes, “We don’t need all kinds, but we sure got all kinds!”
Secular Jews that want to hear why I believe in the God of Gods that the Hassidic community has worshipped in ways that turn the seculars off. They ask me about the beliefs that make me one of the few Baptist Jews in the land. They want to know why a man with a good life in the US would come to their land and share their lives.
Conservative Jews (wear the kippa, but not the black and white, beards, etc. of the Hassids), are curious too about what drives us to love Israel so. Even some Hassids have become friends with us, perhaps against their better judgment. But we don’t get in their faces about our differences. We can almost always agree that Israel should be in the land, that God is the author of the Bible, and that we share the good and the bad together in Israel. It’s a starting place for friendships.
I love the heart, strength, chutzpa, courage, compassion and passion of the people. The circumstances are that Israel has been under attack for over 100 years. Yet the Israelis work hard to make Israel a better place, even for the Arabs.
And Arabs want to live under Israel’s government more than under that of the Palestinian Authority, proven by the huge migration into Jerusalem by Arabs flooding out of the West Bank Arab areas. Hate the Jews, but love their land – it is nutty, but so.
I love the uncertainty of what tomorrow will bring, even in the face of the Arab-Israeli conflict. It’s true. I hate war as only someone who has witnessed it on an up close and personal basis can. Whether it is a Viet Nam battle or a bombing in Tel Aviv, the death and destruction sickens me. I hunger for peace, but I must tell you that I do not shy away from Israel in spite of the odds of imminent attack or bombing. It is not a part of my every thought, though carefulness and awareness are. We don’t run scared, but we live alert.
Israel and the United States. We live in Israel and the United States. We share the good and the bad and the ugly of both. We love the people. And we serve the Lord as He leads, content in “whatsoever state” we find ourselves. It is a blessed life. May yours be as good.
Thanks for your patience with us this week. Next week we will be traveling, so this column will have to suffice for two weeks, unless events change. May the Lord richly bless you as you serve Him.
Genesis 12:3 And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all the families of the earth be blessed.
Psalm 25:22 Redeem Israel, O God, out of all his troubles.
Psalm 60:12 Through God we shall do valiantly: for he it is that shall tread down our enemies.
Psalm 122:6 Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: they shall prosper that love thee.
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